World renowned speed coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating every week in his "Ask Bill Begg!" column on the Inline Planet.
What's Kick the Ball?
Dear Mr. Begg: In your training video (Training with Bill Begg) your daughter Nicole demonstrates a drill I had not seen before — "kick the ball." Would you please explain the purpose of the drill? Doesn't overlapping your feet so far hinder fast crossovers? Thank you. - Matt, Bellevue WA, USA
Hi, Matt: Kick the Ball is a drill we've been using for 15 years to develop cornering skill. The purpose is to teach skaters to push with all their wheels on the ground and to stay in a low position. It helps cure toe pushing. As with other drills, you exaggerate the motion to help train your muscles.
Here's how to do the drill:
Skating in a circle, lift your outside skate over your inside skate. (Don't slide it.) Once you land your outside skate, shift your weight on to it.
Then push your inside skate (which is now behind you) under your body. (If you were skating indoors, this push would be toward the wall.) Fully extend your leg and keep all your wheels on the ground.
After your push — and this is the tricky part — bring your skate forward about six inches as though you are kicking a football.
Finally, bring your skate back to the inside and do a regular push with your outside leg.
What Kind of Boots Should I Buy My Daughter?
Dear Bill: My daughter is a 10-year-old inline speed skater (track). She has narrow and flat feet. I am planning to order her next pair of boots online and to heat-mold them using a heat gun. I am wondering which stock boot might suit her and what to look for while shopping. - Andy from Chennai, India
Hi, Andy: First of all, let me state my position: I have been closely aligned with Bont for many years and am inclined to recommend its skates. But it's not just a matter of loyalty. My children have used Bont skates for years without blisters, and as far as I am concerned, Bont has the best fitting heel in the business.
In terms of general recommendations, I would say that given the shape of your daughter's feet, you should get boots that can be heat-molded. Flat feet tend to spread out on the bottom of boots, which can cause problems. But this can often be corrected by adding some kind of arch support. However, adding arch support often involves reshaping the boots to make everything fit. So it's important that the boot can be heat-molded.
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